KAMAKHYA
Most Venerated Shakti Shrine
KAMAKHYA
Most Venerated Shakti Shrine

The Kamakhya Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the mother goddessKamakhya, one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Pitha.s, Situated on the Nilachal Hill in western part of Guwahati city in Assam, India it is the main temple in a complex of individual temples dedicated to the ten Mahavidyas:Bhuvaneshvari, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Tripura Sundari, Tara, Kali, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Matangi andKamala. Among these, Tripurasundari, Matangi and Kamala reside inside the main temple whereas the other seven reside in individual temples. It is an important pilgrimage destination for general Hindu and especially forTantric worshipers.

The current structural temple, built and renovated many times in the period 8th-17th century, gave rise to a hybrid indigenous style that is sometimes called the Nilachal type a temple with a hemispherical dome on a cruciform base. The temple consists of four chambers: garbhagriha and three mandapas locally called calanta, pancaratnaand natamandira aligned from east to west

There is a tradition that the temple was destroyed by Kalapahar, a general of Sulaiman Karrani (1566–1572), though the latest historical findings favor instead an earlier destruction during Hussein Shah's invasion of theKamata kingdom (1498) then under Nilambar. The ruins of the temple was said to have been discovered byVishwasingha, the founder of the Koch dynasty, who revived worship at the site; but it was during the reign of his son, Naranarayan, that the temple reconstruction was completed in 1565. The reconstruction used material from the original temples that was lying scattered about. Banerji (1925) records that this structure was further built over by the rulers of the Ahom kingdom. Many other structures are yet later additions.

The current structure has been built during the Ahom times, with remnants of the earlier Koch temple carefully preserved. Temple was destroyed during the middle of second millennium and revised temple structure was constructed in 1565 by Chilarai of the Koch dynasty in the style of medieval temples.

Rudra Singha (reign 1696 to 1714) was a devout Hindu and as he grew older he decided to formally embrace the religion and become an orthodox Hindu by being initiated or taking sharan of a Guru, who would teach him the mantras and become his spiritual guide. But, he could not bear the thought of humbling himself in front of a Brahmin who is his subject. He therefore sent envoys to Bengal and summoned Krishnaram Bhattacharyya, a famous mahant of Shakta sect who lived in Malipota, near Santipur in Nadia district. The mahant was unwilling to come, but consented on being promised to be given the care of the Kamakhya temple to him. Though the king did not take sharan, he satisfied the mahant by ordering his sons and the Brahmins in his entourage to accept him as their spiritual guru.

When Rudra Singha died, his eldest son Siba Singha (reign 1714 to 1744), who became the king, gave the management of the Kamakhya temple and along with it large areas of land (Debottar land) to Mahant Krishnaram Bhattacharyya. The Mahant and his successors came to be known as Parbatiya Gosains, as they resided on top of the Nilachal hill. Many Kamakhya priests and modern Saktas of Assam are either disciples or descendants of the Parbatiya Gosains, or of the Nati and Na Gosains.

Festivals

Being the centre for Tantra worship this temple attracts thousands of tantra devotees in an annual festival known as the Ambubachi Mela. Another annual celebration is the Manasha Puja. Durga Puja is also celebrated annually at Kamakhya during Navaratri in the autumn. This five-day festival attracts several thousand visitors.

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